September 23, 2015

Duran shows up to work

Secretary of State Dianna Duran

Secretary of State Dianna Duran, courtesy photo

It’s been a strange few weeks when it’s news that the Secretary of State was working in the office.

Secretary of State Dianna Duran

Secretary of State Dianna Duran

Multiple media outlets reported the embattled Secretary of State Dianna Duran was in the office this week—and last—in preparation for the 2016 elections.

Duran has been largely out of the public eye and out of the office since she was charged with 64 counts related to allegedly funneling campaign funds to personal accounts. The Attorney general outlined how Duran spent thousands of dollars, including the alleged converted campaign money, at casinos in the state.

It had many asking where Duran was holed up. Duran briefly was in the office last week after pleading not guilty to the criminal charges.

On Tuesday, outlets reported that Duran was office. received confirmation from Duran’s chief of staff, Ken Ortiz.

But Duran’s chief of staff, Ken Ortiz, told that Duran was at work two days last week. He also said she arrived at 1 p.m. Tuesday and spent the afternoon working.

“Dianna has been working with our elections staff, as the top priority of this office is preparing for the upcoming presidential election,” Ortiz wrote in an email. That work includes “calculating petition signature numbers” and publishing the 2016 election candidate guide, which is due by Oct. 1, Ortiz said.

The Santa Fe New Mexican also spoke to Ortiz. Ortiz said Duran would answer the New Mexican‘s questions on Thursday.

KOB-TV spoke to Duran on camera on Tuesday—briefly.

“The Secretary of State’s Office has been extremely busy over the past few weeks,” said Duran. “There’s a lot that needs to be done and the staff is doing a great job of getting it all done,” she said, citing upcoming election deadlines as a stress on the office, being worked on diligently by staff.

Duran also told the TV station that she has not been in communication with Gov. Susana Martinez.

A constant refrain from her office has been that while Duran was away, that she has been in constant contact with the staff on the phone.

Duran faces more than just the criminal charges, which include felonies.

Some allies, including Martinez, have brought up the possibility of resignation. Martinez said if the allegations against Duran are true, she should resign.

Duran also will be facing possible impeachment from the House, which could lead to removal from office by the state Senate.

A special House investigatory committee is scheduled to meet next week to discuss the possible impeachment. The committee is made up of an equal number of Republicans and Democrats.

Dianna Duran is the first Republican to be elected Secretary of State in New Mexico in decades.

No statewide official has ever been impeached.